Thursday Night Loaded: Bye, Bye Bartenders Secret And Baking With Booze

Excellent work, Regina. I was in the South Albert liquor store this week and it would seem that one of the liquors I most despise has just been delisted. Finally, the SLGA is using their powers for good. (Unlike when they ditched Bols Creme de Cacao or when they temporarily dropped Hendrick’s.)

You may recall me raging against Bartenders Secret Whiskey Sour back in the summer? Well, thanks to your good taste and unwillingness to tolerate that little charlatan cocktail, it hasn’t been selling very well and is being put on sale just before being yanked from the shelves forever.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Of course, I wasn’t in the liquor store to check up on the status of Bartenders Secret. I was there to purchase a bottle of Schloss Kirsch. It’s an Austrian, cherry-based liqueur. And while it’s an ingredient in cocktails such as the Blackjack, the Godfrey No. One, the Lady Finger and the Moonlight, it is more often used these days in the making of genuine Black Forest Cake.

We were having guests over for dinner one evening, you see, and for some reason I got it in my head that, instead of mixing drinks, as they’d be bringing their kid over and we’d have our kids running around, it’d be smarter for me to make a fancy dessert.

Smarter my eye.

I discovered that just because a person can mix up a respectable cocktail, it does not mean he’ll be able to bake a decent cake.

That said, here’s the recipe I used….

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More News From the Fast Food Front

Looks like KFC’s Double Down isn’t the only culinary option for salt vampires (pictured) looking to get a sodium fix. Here’s a link to Aidan’s article on the DD in our Nov. 18 issue. And here’s a link to another article that talks about the success of the DD in Canada and how fast food outlets everywhere are hopping on the ultra high fat/sodium/calorie band wagon. Meanwhile, health care costs continue to skyrocket.

Shameless And Awe-Inspiring Plagiarism Blows Up Internet

Have you heard the one about the cooking magazine, the ripped-off article and the editor who told a writer she should pay that editor for stealing her story? Yes? Sorry for stale news. No? Well, let me fill you in.

The magazine is a teeny little regional thing in New England called Cooks Source and its editorial technique is apparently “copy, paste, edit, publish and don’t tell (or pay) the writer — but keep her name on the story because we’re not just crooks, we’re also really stupid.” The current issue of Cooks Source (why no apostrophe?) ran a 2005 article by writer Monica Gaudio about medieval apple pies that they swiped from  this website. When Gaudio found out her work had been lifted, she contacted the editor, Judith Griggs, who, in an e-mail, told her:

“But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio.”

And the kicker:

“We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me!”

So what happened? Not surprisingly, Gaudio blogged about it, and Lo the Internet heard and was roused  to wrath. And  Cooks Source is being eviscerated.

Continue reading “Shameless And Awe-Inspiring Plagiarism Blows Up Internet”

CrazyMad Lunchtime Energy

Need a pick-me-up to survive your job today? Why, yes, yes I do. Good thing I discovered the existence of Brooklyn bubblegum punks Matt + Kim over the weekend. Here’s a ludicrously fun and energetic four-year-old video from the spirited duo that will knock anyone back on track. And it’s got food in it, so it’s perfect for lunchtime. Turn it up!

Matt + Kim have a website for your buying-their-stuff needs and a new album, Sidewalks, coming out soon. I vote the Regina Folk Fest bring them here next year. Too much fun and clearly best seen in person.

How It Works: Bogus Tax Cuts And The Business Lobby

As I understand it, one of the reasons people who don’t like prairie dog don’t like prairie dog is we’re always suspicious of tax cuts. Every time some politician says “tax cut” we’re the wet-blanket doom-sayers. “It’s a stealth attack on the public sector,” we say. “Tax cuts are a gift to the already-wealthy at the expensive of ordinary Canadians,” we say. ” “Wah wah waaahh,” we say.

Obviously, taxes  can be a legitimate tool of public policy. Taxing destructive activities (like smoking) heavily is something a lot of people agree with. And cutting taxes on desirable businesses to create incentives also seems widely approved-of (with lots of room for argument about what’s “desirable”).

The problem is, almost  nobody likes paying taxes (sometimes even I complain!) and everyone thinks theirs are too high. It’s only because we’ve had decades of anti-tax propaganda shouted at us. But it’s how we feel.

Well, I just read a story about a shenanigous tax cut being proposed in Washington State. In a nutshell, the soft drink and candy industry is trying to get taxes lowered on their diabetes-causing products so they can sell more crap and make more money. But because an honest discussion of the merits of taxes on fizzy soda water and sugar-cereal would result in broad agreement that it’s good to tax unhealthy things, they have to be artful with the facts. In this case, they’re twisting the truth. They’re  telling the public that the junk food tax affects a “wide range of food and beverage products”, and it’s hurting “middle-income families, seniors and other people who are already struggling to make ends meet during difficult economic times.”

And gosh, who wants to hurt seniors and families? Especially in this economy?

It’s a good story about a campaign that’s as sleazy as hell. You should read it because it shows how things work, whether you’re in Washington state or Saskatchewan. Here’s the link.

Stories like this are exactly why I’m always suspicious of tax cut proposals.

You know what? You should be suspicious when politicians talk about tax cuts, too.

Regina + Sri Lankan Refugees = Awesome

That Andrew Coyne article in Maclean’s that LaRose linked to the other day ends with a mention of the 60,000 Vietnamese boat people that Canada admitted back in the 1970s. He talks briefly about how well those people are doing 40 years later.

Well, speaking of, I used to live near Somerset and Cambridge in Ottawa. That’s right at the entrance to that city’s Chinatown and a lot of those Vietnamese refugees settled in and around there.

There’s even a monument commemorating their flight from Vietnam and arrival in Canada outside the neighbourhood pool, the Plant Recreation Centre.

And you know what? All that Vietnamese influence on the neighbourhood has been just pure, 100% awesome. Especially where eats are concerned. Somerset Street is nowadays awash in places where you can get Vietnamese food. At the risk of sounding like I’m pining, highlights included Vietnamese Subs — so tasty with the cilantro and the meat and the $2 – $3 price tag. Then there’s Bun which is a vermicelli bowl with vegetables and grilled meat. And then, of course, there’s Pho — a cheap but delicious Vietnamese soup.

Best place to get Pho in Ottawa, btw, (moving in to full pining mode here) was Thu Do at 765 Somerset. But there was also this one place, Pho Bo Ga, that was open until 3 am even on weeknights. (Man, what I wouldn’t have given for a place like that when our daughter was first born. Those sleepless nights would’ve been a hell of a lot easier to cope with if there’d been a soup place open to the wee hours down the street from us in Waterloo.)

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, letting refugees into our country is a Very Good Idea. Not just because it’s the right thing to do from a compassion perspective, but also because it will be good for us.

In other words, Coyne is right. The Tamil refugees will only make Canada stronger.

We should be welcoming them — not picketing, demanding they be sent home.

In fact, I’d like to make a suggestion. We should welcome them here. To Regina. Way I see it, a City Hall with moxy and the vision to imagine a vibrant, multicultural city for the 21st century and beyond would be lobbying Ottawa right now to help the Tamil refugees settle in our fair prairie city. Then maybe we could, oh, I don’t know… offer startup loans for any among them willing to set up, say, a restaurant. Or five.

Because, you know, Tamils are from Sri Lanka. And Sri Lankan food is 100%, pure awesome.

Tangerine Adds Zing To 14th

I was walking back from the Farmers Market and discovered that Tangerine the Food Bar (2234 14th Ave) opened a couple weeks ago. How come nobody told me?

We only had time to drop in for a couple salads. Moroccan chickpea & carrot and gingered noodle with cucumber & mango. Wow. Both were great.

That the food is awesome isn’t a surprise seeing as Tangerine is an offshoot of Evolution Catering (which is around the corner so I assume they share a kitchen).

But what I wasn’t expecting was the soda selection. They’re carrying this brand out of Seattle called Dry Soda. Crazy flavours: Lilac, Kumquat, Vanilla Bean, Lemongrass, Rhubarb, Cucumber and Juniper Berry.

You read that last one right. It’s pop that tastes like gin. They were out of juniper soda today (apparently it’s popular) so I’ll be going back later to get me some. Had a lilac and a cucumber instead. Very nice. The flavours were pretty light and the sweetness is really dialed down. A grown up drink, not liquid candy.

Anyway, in short (and this isn’t an official review, by the way), Tangerine looks to be a fantastic addition to the whole downtown area. I like how it rounds out that little shopping block on 14th with Nature’s Best, Henry’s, Hip 2 Knit and the rest.

So, yet another great eatery opening up a short walk from my house. Have I raved lately about how much more awesome my neighbourhood is becoming?

Pick of the Day: Making Peace Vigil

If you’re out and about in the downtown between noon and 12:30 p.m. swing by the north end of the F. W. Hill Mall and give a shout-out to Stephen Harper and Brad Wall. They’ll be glad-handling in support of efforts to end poverty and injustice in the world.

No, seriously, they’ll be on the mall in solidarity with the fine folks of the Making Peace Vigil. It’s kind of a milestone day for the group. Their 3rd anniversary, to be exact. For the past 156 Thursdays, through the dirtiest weather south-Saskatchewan is capable of throwing at us, they’ve  demonstrated–first against the war in Afghanistan, then later against a host of human justice and environmental issues.

So huge props to them. And props to the Prime Minister and Saskatchewan Premier for showing up and sharing a slice of birthday cake with the demonstrators. Maybe they’ll even tote a sign for a time and raise their voices in song with the Singers of the Sacred Web and Viva La Musica who will also be in attendance. 

Jolly good show guys! 

Also on tonight is a classical music concert featuring a performance of Schubert’s “The Trout” along with works by Kodaly and Nobles by members of the Regina, Brandon and Calgary symphonies. Westminster United Church, 8 p.m. $15 adults, $12 seniors & students. 539-8239. 

Tonight also marks the start of Taste of Spring, the annual showcase of fine local dining and drinking that we hopefully raised the bar on a bit after our pretty damn decent Best of Food issue. It’s on until Saturday at the Credit Union EventPlex. (6:30 p.m. $37)

Tonight and tomorrow night at New Dance Horizons (2207 Harvey St.) there’s a repeat performance of In Fur Till Spring (pictured). Featuring live harpsichord and electric guitar, this is a work worth seeing. It features four dancers (three female, one male) and has a real sense of seasonal transformation and fecundity about it.

Start time is 8 p.m. both nights. Highly recommended.

Also on tonight, Unlearn is playing with Monkey, Experiments and Beezlebison at the Club, doors at 6 p.m. $8. And at O’Hanlon’s, the bluegrass/jazz group the F-Holes are playing.

No Double Down For Regina

As we get ready for our Best of Food issue, there remains one sandwich that won’t be crowned the best, at least for the foreseeable future.

KFC’s Double Down sandwich was debuted down in the States today but isn’t available in Canada, according to my call to the South Albert location.

They’re being pretty liberal with the word “sandwich,” as the Double Down consists of two pieces of chicken – the “bread” – along with two slices of Pepperjack cheese and two slices of bacon. So, less a sandwich and more a post on This Is Why You’re Fat.

I asked the lady who picked up at KFC if she knew what the Double Down was.

“I heard it was some kind of meat and cheese and bacon, but it’s just down in the States,” she said.

For the time being, Canadians will either have to eat it while down in the U.S. or simply experience it vicariously.

Let’s Talk About How Bad Abortion Is While We Eat Delicious Spaghetti

The Saskatchewan anti choice Pro-Life Association’s website has a poster (pictured) for an anti-abortion spaghetti dinner with Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz. Yum.

Nobody, but nobody, can cook-up posters with unintended irony quite like rural Saskatchewan’s political event planners. (Wonkette)

Unfortunately we missed the Friday dinner, which was organized by the Potashville Pro-Life Association at St. Joseph’s Catholic church in Langenburg. A shame. I would’ve loved to hear Breitkreuz — an opponent of gun control and gay marriage who apparently tried to get a bill passed in 2001 defining fetuses as persons — talk about the need for closer ties between church and state. Maybe next year.

International Women’s Day Is Yummy

Our friends at the Regina Folk Festival brought us cupcakes for International Women’s Day! They’re FANTASTIC. I ate the one with the gummy fishies and it was SOOO GOOD. Thanks excellent rocking supercool folk-women for using your hard-won powers of equal personhood to bake our all-boy staff such delicious cupcakes! YUM!